Nacho Barbero
Argentian professional Nacho Barbero cashed in all three of the opening events of the U.S. Poker Open.

The 2023 U.S. Poker Open has begun and in the opening three events, three different players have taken the trophies and ensured a close battle is on for the overall leadership victory. With that comes the impressive ‘Golden Eagle’ trophy, along with the Championship bonus of $50,000.


Running from March 23 to April 4 at the PokerGO Studio at ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, the U.S. Poker Open (USPO) has events with buy-ins as small as $10,000 and as large as $50,000, so sits perfectly in the middle of the high roller circuit range, with a double re-entry option in every event. Anyone arriving on time plays rake-free and there were plenty in seats at the start of each event.


Event #1 Won by Joey Weisman for $231,000


With each of the ten USPO events this year contributing to the overall 2023 PGT leaderboard this season, getting points on the board right away was vital. By the time the opening $10,000-entry No Limit hold’em event began, there had been 105 entrants, with a prizepool of just over a million dollars and 15 places paid.


Scraping into the money places were players such as Daniel Negreanu (15th for $21,000), ‘Boston Rob’ Mariano (11th for $31,500) and Alex Foxen (10th for the same amount), while players such as Darren Elias (9th for $42,000), Joao Simao (8th for $42,000) and Ren Lin (7th for $52,500) just missing out on the last day. When the final six were confirmed, it was Justin Young who had the chip lead.


First out of the final six was Jonathan Little, who was unable to spin up his small stack, his pocket sevens outrun by Andrew Moreno’s ace-jack, a jack on the flop doing the fatal damage. Nacho Barbero was the next to fall, dominated and defeated by Justin Young, the Argentinian’s king-jack starting and ending his final hand behind Young’s superior ace-king.


Matthew McEwan missed out on the podium places in fourth place for $99,750, shortly before Andrew Moreno ducked the heads-up, exiting in third place for $126,000. Moreno, whose major results over the past few years stack up with anyone in the game, couldn’t win a coinflip with pocket sevens outdrawn by Joey Weissman’s ace-king.


It was perfect timing for Weissman, and he used that momentum to take the crown. Heads-up, he got the better of Young when the latter raised with ace-seven then four-bet shoved after Weissman had raised with ace-queen. The clean board gave Weissman the title and top prize of $231,000, as well as 231 PGT and USPO points. Young had to settle for a runner-up prize of $168,000.


PGT U.S. Poker Open 2023 Event #1 Final Table Results:

Place Player Country Prize USPO Points
1st Joey Weissman U.S.A. $231,000 231
2nd Justin Young U.S.A. $168,000 168
3rd Andrew Moreno U.S.A. $126,000 126
4th Matthew McEwan U.S.A. $99,750 100
5th Nacho Barbero Argentina $78,750 79
6th Jonathan Little U.S.A. $63,000 63


Joey Weissman
Joey Weissman was the winner of the opening event of the 2023 USPO.

Event #2 Won by Ren Lin as Barbero Falls Just Short


The second event of the 2023 USPO was won by American player Ren Lin, whose victory came at the expense of Nacho Barbero heads-up. It was the second top-five finish in a row for Barbero, who has already cashed for close to $3 million in what some are dubbing ‘The Year of Nacho’ – even our 15 Bigs couldn’t slow him in his tracks.


With a prizepool that exactly mirrored the first $10,000 NLHE event, the same number of players cashed, with Sam Soverel sneaking into the money in 15th place for $21,000. His result was followed by those of Adam Hendrix (11th for $31,500) and Brock Wilson (8th for $42,000) as the field narrowed to six with Nate Silver the man to catch.


Once the final table began, the first man out was the most decorated at the felt. Erik Seidel has won nine WSOP bracelets and well over $42 million in tournament poker alone, but he busted for $63,000 when his ace-jack lost to Ren Lin’s 7d7c. It was a classic flip with all the chips in before the flop, but an ace-high flop of AhQc4h would have given Seidel great hope. Those hopes were dashed when the [7] landed on the turn, the ineffectual 4c river sealing Seidel’s exit.


After Aram Zobian busted in fifth place for $78,750 to Nate Silver’s pocket queens, the chip leader himself when play began made his way to the rail. His departure was a shock, coming as it did just half an hour later when his short-stack shove with 7d5s lost to Ren Lin’s As7h.


Robert Chorlian busted in third place, leaving Lin to clean up heads-up, Nacho Barbero unable to grab the win when his king-high lost to Lin’s ace-high, the Argentinian collecting the runner-up prize of $168,000.


PGT U.S. Poker Open 2023 Event #2 Final Table Results:

Place Player Country Prize USPO Points
1st Ren Lin U.S.A. $231,000 231
2nd Nacho Barbero Argentina $168,000 168
3rd Robert Chorlian U.S.A. $126,000 126
4th Nate Silver U.S.A. $99,750 100
5th Aram Zobian U.S.A. $78,750 79
6th Erik Seidel U.S.A. $63,000 63


Ren Lin
Ren Lin took down Event #2 as Nacho Barbero was beaten heads-up after his second final table appearance.

Sam Soverel Scoops in Event #3 for $213,000


In the third event of the U.S. Poker Open, it was perennial PokerGO performer Sam Soverel who took the top prize, this time earning $213,900 in the process. Taking on a final table featuring three other Americans, Soverel was the best of 14 players who cashed from the 93 entries. Players such as Martin Zamani, Alex Foxen and Phil Hellmuth cashed in 12th – 14th places inclusively, meaning each of those players made $18,600 back on their $10,000 entries.


Closer to the final table of six, Erik Seidel banked another chunk of profit, this time winning $37,200 in ninth place, while it was Aram Oganyan who most narrowly missed out on the final day action, taking $46,500 in seventh place. When the final table began, it was the Argentinian player Nacho Barbero who busted first, his third consecutive final table appearance in the opening three events. Barbero lost with pocket sevens cut down by Kristen Foxen’s pocket queens and Brock Wilson’s pocket nines, who lost a chunk to Foxen who held through the board.


Dan Colpoys was eliminated in fifth place when he won $74,400. Colpoys called it off with ace-jack but was wrong to do so, Sam Soverel holding ace-king when he had moved all-in pre-flop. The board of As8h5dQd4s sent Colpoys home outside the top four. It wasn’t long before he was joined on the rail by Foxen, whose AsAc were overtaken by Sam Soverel’s Qh2h after the board fell Kh9c4sTh9h for a runner-runner sickener. Foxen, crestfallen, cashed for $93,000.


Into the top three places, Brandon Wilson went next, winning $111,600. His ace-eight suited lost to Chris Brewer’s pocket deuces and that hand was replicated in the next hand, the very first deal of heads-up play. Sensing serendipity perhaps, Brewer three-bet shoved and was called by Soverel with KsQh. The board of AsTc5h5cQd left it late, but Soverel’s river pair meant Brewer cashed for $148,800 in second place, with Soverel top dog for $213,900.


After the opening three events, Argentinian player Nacho Barbero is the only player to have won three cashes in those events. It’s a close run at the top of the leaderboard, with Barbero being chased down by event winners and some big names in the top 10.


PGT U.S. Poker Open 2023 Event #3 Final Table Results:

Place Player Country Prize USPO Points
1st Sam Soverel U.S.A. $213,900 214
2nd Chris Brewer U.S.A. $148,800 149
3rd Brandon Wilson U.S.A. $111,600 112
4th Kristen Foxen Canada $93,000 93
5th Daniel Colpoys U.S.A. $74,400 74
6th Nacho Barbero Argentina $55,800 56


Sam Soverel
PokerGO regular winner Sam Soverel claimed Event #3 for yet another six-figure tournament score in a glittering career.